Post-Brexit: EU and UK Intellectual Property Protection

Many U.S. companies rely on foreign intellectual property protection for their inventions, including, of course, the European Union (“EU”).

European Patent Organization (“EPO”) President Benoit Battistelli issued a brief statement today on the U.K. referendum voted in on June 23, 2016. President Benoit’s statement indicates that the outcome of the referendum, i.e., the vote in favor of Brexit, has no consequence on the membership of the U.K. in the EPO. The Brexit vote will have no effect on European patents in the U.K. The EPO anticipates that the U.K. and EPO member states will resolve the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court soon to allow full implementation of these long-delayed provisions.

European Community (“EC”) trademarks and designs are still valid in the U.K. There will be no immediate loss of protection. When the U.K. withdraws from the EU, trademark and design protection in the U.K. may be subject to validation or conversion procedures. There will be no loss of priority associated with such validation or conversion.

Please contact our Intellectual Property Group if you have legal questions with respect to European patent or trademark protection following the Brexit vote.


By William P. Smith

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